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Project Search Internship Leads to Employment

by Marie Phillips

Keagan Giles

Keagan Giles was a first year participant in Project SEARCH at VCU Health Systems. Keagan, a former Richmond Public Schools student, is the first intern to be hired by VCU Health Systems. As of May 3, 2010 Keagan became a full-time, fully benefited employee in Patient Transportation. His gaining of competitive employment is a direct result of his success in his first internship. Keagan spent the first 10 weeks going to 14 different labs throughout the hospital system. He was responsible for picking up lab specimens, documenting them and delivering the specimens to the appropriate lab. The safe and timely delivery of lab specimens is an absolute must in this job. Keagan contributes to a vital role in the hospitals. The results from the specimens are often life changing.

Keagan documenting speciman delivery


Keagan quickly learned all the short cuts throughout the hospitals and could navigate through back hallways and stairwells in no time at all. His love of people shone brightly, as Keagan began developing professional relationships throughout the hospitals. Keagan was such an outstanding employee that the Director of Patient Transportation, Mark Divens, immediately put a request in to Human Resources to approve hiring Keagan as a full-time employee. As time progressed, Keagan continued with his internships. He also had a very successful internship in Acute Care Medicine, which is in the Critical Care Hospital. Keagan had various job duties that were performed independently. One of the major functions of his job was the re-stocking of personal protective equipment cabinets. He would pick up the supply cart, work from a par sheet and fill the cabinets to the standards. This plays a critical role on this unit because personal protective equipment, such as gloves and masks, is absolutely pertinent for the protection of patients, visitors and staff.

Keagan making a delivery

Keagan also performed other job duties such as re-stocking clean medical supplies and cleaning. Keagan was an exceptional employee on this unit. He willingly took on new job duties and initiated the search for further job duties. He even learned to answer the phones and use the pager system. Nurse Manager, Rhonda Atkinson, put in a request to Human Resources for a Unit Utility Aide position, as they were prepared to offer him employment.

Unfortunately, due to the economy the request was denied. However, as his second internship came to a close Keagan received an offer on employment from Mr. Divens in Patient Transportation. Keagan is now in his second month of Patient Transportation. He is doing very well and has encountered no problems. Keagan's supervisors and co-workers consistently stop by the Project Search classroom to talk about the wonderful job he is doing and what a delight it is to work with him. Keagan says that he could not be happier and he comes to work every day with a smile, ready to take on whatever comes his way.

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